Traditionally, the United Arab Emirates has been a tribal area of inhospitable lands but incredibly hospitable people. The foundation of society in the region has always been the tribe, with a strong devotion to family and neighbors displaying a selfless attitude when it comes to showing hospitality to all.
Beginning around 1000 BC, Arab tribes started migrating to the region, showing an amazing ability to adapt to their surroundings. A sense of duty to family and community, which is an integral part of tribal society, bound the people in the effort to survive in their new home and helped them to utilize all available resources to the fullest. Their religion, Islam, also offered a common bond, helping to keep the communities together.
The Bani Yas tribe, the largest to roam the vast desert region, along with the Manasir and Awamir tribes, lived a nomadic lifestyle in the great desert for many generations, returning each spring to their home settlements based near the various oasis in the region. During the spring and summer, the families would cultivate and harvest crops of dates that are highly prized by the people, also creating terraced gardens that were tended by the families of the tribes.
Unlike the Bani Yas, the Al Rumaitha sub-tribe were a fishing people and they remained in their coastal settlement year round. During the course of their fishing, sometimes an oyster was found and the pearl collected by the lucky fisherman to use as barter, the method of commerce used during earlier times. The pearling industry began to grow during the 1700s and 1800s as their neighbor India prospered, creating a demand for pearls on a large scale, in turn bringing prosperity to the Bani Yas tribe.
Today there is little resemblance to the traditional tribal way of life in the United Arab Emirates. The discovery of oil in the late 1950s brought a huge influx of workers in the early 1960s creating rapid growth and prosperity. The modernization of the region continued and on December 2, 1971, seven sheikdoms joined together under a Federal presidential system and a constitutional monarchy, forming the UAE or United Arab Emirates.
The seven states of the United Arab Emirates are:
Abu Dhabi, the capital, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain and Ras al-Khaimah.
Tourism is big business in the UAE and in true Arab tradition the people take great pride in offering the ultimate in hospitality to visitors. The two main cities for tourism are Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Accommodations that are second to none can be found with the ultimate in luxury in abundance. Dubai also features the only seven-star hotel in the world, the Burj Al-Arab, which features every imaginable luxury and convenience to every guest.
Adventure tourism is quite popular in the United Arab Emirates, featuring such outings as desert safaris and sand skiing. After a day of adventuring, refresh with a swim in the crystal waters of the Persian Gulf.
Shopping is an adventure as well, with impressive malls and shopping venues including the world famous Gold Souk and Gold Market.
United Arab Emirates is home to the world's 4th largest airport. Dubai International Airport DXB/OMDB is located just outside of Dubai.